When it comes to designing a workout program, you already know the basics: you need to squat and deadlift; you need to do heavy rows, bench presses, and chin-ups; and you need good technique. But are you structuring your workouts correctly for maximum results? Are you including the little things that could take your program to the next level?
Just as “great minds think alike,” great workout programs look alike, too. From elite level athletes to local strength and conditioning coaches, all good training plans share similar features.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll avoid the doubt, frustration, and possible injuries that come from poor workout programs; instead, you’ll maximize your muscle growth, prevent injuries, and achieve your goals.
1) Change Your Reps Every Few Weeks
Your repetitions are the most important part of your workout program; they control everything from your strength and size gains to how your muscles develop and look.
Here is a general guideline of what each rep range does:
1 - 3 reps: Maximal Strength
4 - 6 reps: Strength
8 - 12 reps: Size Gains (Hypertrophy)
15+ reps: Endurance
If you always do 15 or more reps, for example, you’ll develop thinner muscles with better endurance. But if you never change your reps, you’ll ignore your maximum strength and explosive power and you’ll lose out on size gains.
Instead, organize your workout program into phases lasting a few weeks each, choose the rep range you want for each phase (ex. 4 - 6), and do that for all your main exercises. Then, in the next phase, choose a different rep range.
Here’s a sample workout program with four, month-long phases:
Month One: 8 reps
Month Two: 15 reps
Month Three: 6 reps
Month Four: 12 reps
Now, you’ll build all aspects of endurance, power, strength, and size in just a few months.